I realized that even though I always thought that I was me, I really wasn’t. I was that guy’s girlfriend or that nation’s veteran or that God’s believer.

Who was the person? I didn’t connect all of those things with me because of the contradictions implicit within being a trained warrior and a heartfelt pacifist, a renegade lover and a die-hard romantic. I broke hearts and cried afterwards.

Things just didn’t make sense. Was I losing it? My fear that I was losing my mind led me to seek help. I got some help and realized that my essence is a fish swimming in a wide stream. I can make small movements, this way and that to satisfy my longings or needs, but in the end, I cannot escape the stream’s pull on my life.

This fish is part of a school of fish. Even anglers living at the bottom get together once in a while. A loner among loners is still part of the crowd. Our school still behaves like kids because we have to. It’s part of the job description. We entertain.

The pandemic kind of made us all loners. Fauci just wants to hug his daughter, he says. I want to return to the Eucharist. My husband thinks that it is not safe to receive the Eucharist because all the people in Church breathe into the chalice when they lean in to receive it from the hands of the priest. I am his wife and we swim together.

So I am becoming patient.

Everyday, I post something in this blog for the TWT community. I read the work of others and feel like the pandemic is fading in strength. We were so frightened. I am weary, but no longer frightened. I believe that we will make it together. The school of fish fly underwater towards the place of sustenance.

So I am becoming reliable.

I turned in my party shoes for some comfortable ones that I can stand for prolonged periods of time in. Now, I don’t scare other fish away so much. I miss the loud music, but the slow Jason Stephenson is better for the ears. I started to practice my piano, something that I had not done since I was a kid and my mother was alive. It reminded me of her and taught me how to stick to something difficult.

So I am becoming disciplined.

Maybe, I will learn to quit while I am ahead. I once thought that all writers were like Oscar Wilde or Jack Kerouac, party-goers and heart breakers. It turns out that most of us are just flaming workaholics that can’t stop until the project is finished. The other school zips along and mixes business with pleasure, making it seem so shiny.

Whatever you do, avoid sharks. They are the mean ones. Whales seem nice, but they will slurp you up because they get so hungry. People, the normal ones, are in schools just like fish. They just haven’t realized that they are being carried around by a gentle stream yet. They think that they are doing it all on their own. They fret and pop antacids, poor people.

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